Jefferson Parish’s 53 million dollar problem with conprofits laid bare by IG David McClintock

Yesterday Ben Myers broke the news of Jefferson Parish Inspector General David McClintock’s first report since he founded the Jefferson Parish Inspector General’s Office and man is that report a doozie. I chucked at George Amato’s comment to Ben’s story, which I completely concur.

The bottom line is the report is so bad my suggestion is that the taxpaying public would be better served if the Parish Council simply eliminated the various Parish departments and employees that hand out these taxpayer funded grants that are subsequently looted, take the $53.5MM of tax money they are determined to squander and simply put it on a silver platter at the intersection of Veterans and Causeway so the general public can at least get a shot at taking some of the bounty. Not only is such a more democratic method of squandering tax money the squandering can be done without the accompanying overhead. In any event here are the low lights from IG McClintock’s first report:

OIG Audit Finding Louisiana Community & Family Services, Inc.
OIG Audit Finding Louisiana Community & Family Services, Inc.

But it gets better because the gang Louisiana Community & Family Services took the money from the Parish, converted it to cash and then supposedly paid their expenses with that cash without any further documentation. For those of you that actually believe that, Chermaine Kelly has some waterfront in the Gobi desert for sale: Continue reading “Jefferson Parish’s 53 million dollar problem with conprofits laid bare by IG David McClintock”

A few keys to understanding Singing River Hospital disaster: Part 1

I’ve followed the unfolding Singing River Hospital financial disaster from afar and thus far have managed to not look at a single audit or financial report as I’m currently neck deep in paying work.  That said I have seen woeful misinformation spread about Defined Benefit Pension Plans during the course of the reporting.   Defined Benfit plans, if properly run, can still be an excellent and cost effective employee benefit and it is there we begin because many have been looted out and then dumped on the taxpayers:

Looting the Pension Funds ~ Matt Taibbi

‘Retirement Heist’: How Firms Trimmed Pensions ~ Interview with former WSJ Reporter Ellen Schultz, WTEST

At Singing River Hospital, the pension fund was not looted. Instead it was simply not funded by the hospital to the point now where management now claims that the plan is actuarially unsound. The implications of not funding a qualified defined benefit plan, which likely had mandated minimum funding requirements, are legion.

For instance, when most people think of qualified pension plans they think IRS, because it is the IRS that writes the regulations for plan qualification and actually approves the plans both when they are established and terminated. However it is not the IRS that Singing River Hospital needs to worry about in this instance as it is the Department of Labor, specifically the Employee Benefits Security Administration that would handle the potential ERISA violations associated with the media disclosures involving the Singing River defined benefit plan and that is the bad news because while the IRS “audits”, the DOL “Investigates”.  Having handled a DOL Investigation once or twice in my time practicing public accounting, I can say first hand it is far better to have the IRS show up than the DOL when it comes to this subject matter.

All that said the Singing River financial debacle could keep an enterprising business writer busy for weeks as the ramifications of seeing yet another defined benefit pension plan crash and burn are literally legion.  Here are a few things that come to mind: Continue reading “A few keys to understanding Singing River Hospital disaster: Part 1”

Other Voices | Southern Political Watch: Cannabis Legalization in Mississippi

Every 42 seconds, an individual is arrested for cannabis according to the FBI; this same individual will most likely lose his or her job, their house, their family, and everything they own. All of this because of a natural growing plant? Cannabis needs to be legalized because it has medicinal value, has properties which will stimulate our lagging economy, and is overall unconstitutional. Also, counter-arguments will be addressed and refuted. First off, we will examine the medical benefits of the plant.

Physicians and researchers have “overwhelmingly identified the cannabinoid CBD as the active medicinal compound in cannabis,” according to News-Medical. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who received his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Michigan Medical School, states that cannabis products are being used to treat cancer, seizures, multiple sclerosis (MS), glaucoma, pain and other ailments. Among these benefits, cannabis is also known to treat cerebral palsy. In the documentary In Pot We Trust, Jacqueline Patterson is featured with cerebral palsy. When Patterson smokes marijuana, she transforms into another woman, a woman who can speak clearly and use her body more effectively and less painfully. The plant clearly has health remedies for our bodies, but it also has health remedies for our economy.

The legalization of cannabis will stimulate the economy. In Colorado, where cannabis is legal, the Colorado Department of Revenue states that $52,185,870 comes from the “Total Marijuana Taxes, Licenses, and Fees.” 52.2 million dollars is added to the state’s revenue from the fees associated with the sale of marijuana. Not only is the tax revenue great from the legalization, but the overall economy is thriving. Colorado sits at a 4.7% unemployment rate which is lower than the national unemployment rate of ~7%. In 2014, Colorado added over 67,000 jobs. Mississippi’s unemployment rate sits at 7.7%. Considering roughly 50% of Mississippi’s revenue comes from federal funds, the state could use all of the state generated funds it can use. Also, Mississippi has the perfect climate for hemp farming. Hemp can be used to make a myriad items from paper, clothing, ropes, and fuels. In order for Mississippi to gain this revenue, it has to be legal. Continue Reading…………..

Jim Brown: No More Retail Politics in Louisiana!

Thursday, October 13th, 2014
Baton Rouge, Louisiana


Remember the days when candidates for U.S Senator or Governor would speak to thousands of supporters at weekend rallies all over Louisiana? Huey Long was the master, mainly because he promised he’d give voters just about anything they wanted. A long line of colorful politicians followed in Huey’s wake. But those days seem to be long gone and forgotten.

Governor Jimmy Davis could draw a crowd on parish courthouse steps by blaring out a chorus of “You are My Sunshine.” Gov. John McKeithen was in high cotton while giving stump speeches on the back of a pickup truck. Edwin Edwards would mesmerize crowds in south Louisiana with his Cajun humor. Senators like Russell Long, Bennett Johnson and John Breaux, though not as flamboyant, still could both draw and relate to large crowds of voters all over the state.

Fairs and festivals used to be huge draws for statewide candidates. John Kennedy kicked off his run for the presidency before a crowd of over 200,000 at the Crowley Rice Festival back in 1959. It was an absolute must for aspiring governors, U.S. senators, and other statewide offices to attend the Frog Festival in Rayne, the Crawfish Festival in Beaux Bridge, the Natchitoches Christmas Festival, the Peach Festival in Ruston; the list goes on and on.

If you missed it from the bombardment of TV ads, there’s a runoff election going on in Louisiana for U.S. Senator. You sure would not be aware of this contest if you relied on either candidate showing up to “press the flesh,” and network with constituents at many of the large gatherings that happen every weekend this time of year. What happened to all the direct contact with voters? Continue Reading…………….

Wednesdays Wars | Tom Callaghan: Impeachment? Obama Should be so Lucky

Published on Nov 12, 2014

With 36% of those eligible voting, an older, whiter, less-gay electorate than the one that re-elected Obama in 2012 delivered both houses of Congress to Republican control. In other words, the people who watch FOX beat the heck out of the people who watch MSNBC.

The low turnout and the composition of the electorate are typical for off-year elections. Democrats seem to need a visionary-type figure at the top of the ticket (Kennedy, Obama) to drive turnout in elections. Republicans turnout all the time.

The difference between the two parties is amply illustrated by a couple of old adages, possibly attributable to Chris Matthews: 1. Democrats fall in love; Republicans fall in line. 2. Republicans want a leader; Democrats want to have a meeting.

The challenge for Republicans in the legislative branch will be discipline. They showed good discipline in terms of candidate selection in the last election. Very few, if any, of their candidates were so heavily laden with baggage that they were uncompetitive from the start. Continue Reading………..